Khmer Rouge ideologue cremated, appeal may be stopped

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A spokesman for Cambodia’s U.N.-assisted Khmer Rouge tribunal says the death of the defunct communist group’s ideologue may end criminal proceedings against him even though his appeal against convictions for genocide and other crimes is still pending.

Nuon Chea, the second-highest official after Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot when the group held power in the late 1970s, died Sunday at age 93. He was cremated Friday at a Buddhist temple in northwestern Cambodia.

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Spokesman Neth Pheaktra said under Cambodian law, judicial action is terminated on the death of the accused, and Cambodia’s Supreme Court would rule on its application.

It will not be clear until the court rules whether the convictions under appeal — with a life sentence — will stand or be vacated, leaving them legally undecided.